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Evidence doesn't support enhanced possession charges

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Because the state failed to prove that an early training center located near the defendant’s home constituted school property for purposes of enhancing drug charges, the Indiana Court of Appeals ordered the man’s convictions be reduced.

In Robert A. Baker v. State of Indiana, No. 40A05-1109-CR-503, Robert Baker challenged his convictions of Class B felony possession of methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of a school and Class C felony possession of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school.

At Baker’s trial, North Vernon police officer Craig Kipper, who responded to the report of a chemical odor coming from Baker’s apartment, testified that the apartment was approximately 600 feet from the Early Training Center. He said the ETC offered continuing education classes for students who wanted to get their high school diplomas.

Baker argued on appeal that the evidence doesn’t support enhancing his convictions based on the location of the ETC. The judges agreed. The state didn’t point to any evidence presented at trial that showed the ETC was a building or other structure owned or rented by a school corporation or other entity described under Indiana Code 35-41-1-24.7, nor was there evidence that any of the students enrolled in the program were school-age children and not adults or college-age individuals.

Judge Elaine Brown pointed out that previous caselaw has dictated that college and university property does not fall under the term “school property” as used under I.C. 35-41-1-24.7 to support a charge enhancement.

The appellate court ordered that Baker’s convictions be entered as Class D felonies and he be resentenced accordingly.

 

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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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